Culture Watch Wednesday
Culture Watch Wednesday

Our Summer Reading Lists 2014

Culture Watch WednesdayAs students, many of us were given “summer reading lists” that had various titles of books for required summer reading – much of which you had a test on the first day of school. It is so nice to be an adult and be able to read during the summer – not because it is required, but because you want to engage in a story or learn something new.

Our blog team is a group of readers. We have compiled a list of three books that each of us is reading this summer. Some books are more academic in nature, while others are for pleasure or for equipping. Regardless, each reflects the various tastes of the ladies that make up our blog team and we wanted to share our list with our blog readers. What are you reading this summer?

Abby Edwards
Trading Places – Les and Leslie Parrot – To understand your spouse you’ve got to walk in his or her shoes. Ever feel like you’re stepping on each other’s toes? Then maybe it’s time you put yourselves in each other’s shoes. Of course that may sound uncomfortable. But it’s easier than you think—and it will revolutionize your relationship. In fact, bestselling authors Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott reveal the little-known secrets of putting the time-tested strategy of trading places to work in your own marriage. In this book, chock-full of practical helps and tips you’ve never thought of, you’ll learn the three-step-strategy to trading places and, as a result, you’re sure to: * Increase your levels of passion * Bolster your commitment * Eliminate nagging * Short-circuit conflict * Double your laughter * Forgive more quickly * Talk more intimately This book also features a powerful, free online assessment that instantly improves your inclination to trade places.

The New Testament and the People of God – N.T. Wright – This major new five-volume project presents a comprehensive, detailed, yet highly readable assessment of the historical and theological questions surrounding the origins of Christianity.

Surrender: The Heart that God Controls – Nancy Leigh DeMoss – If you’ve been fighting a losing spiritual battle, it’s time to give up. Bow the knee. Wave the white flag. And turn yourself over to the King of kings. The truth is, your salvation, your initial ‘surrender’ to Christ, was just the starting point. You will never know real joy, real peace, real success until you learn what it means to live a fully surrendered life, to continually say ‘no’ to self and ‘yes’ to God. Choosing the pathway to full surrender will transform your perspective, set fire to your soul, revolutionize your life, and give the spiritual victory you have sought for so long.

Ashley Allen
John Adams – David McCullough – I love history and McCullough is the nation’s Pulitzer Prize winning historian. This book is for those who want to hear the story of our second American president and the origins of our nation’s beginning. Adams led a fascinating life – from being a young boy who grew up on a farm and attended Harvard and earned a law degree, to defending the British officers involved in the Boston Massacre to helping shape our nation. Reading his life has provided greater appreciation for what our nation’s founding fathers endured to begin the United States of America.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle – The Countess of Carnarvon – I love the PBS’ series Downton Abbey and the saga of the Crawley family. This book is written by the current Countess of Carnarvon, who occupies Highclere Castle with her husband, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon. The book follows the life of Lady Almina, whom Lady Cora in the show finds her basis. The book is historical non-fiction and it is intriguing to read the true story of the storylines behind the plot of the show.

Growing UP: How to Be a Disciple Who Makes Disciples – Robby Gallaty – This book is about disciple-making and offers practical advice for anyone who has ever wondered how to make disciples. I am thankful for Dr. Gallaty and his testimony and his desire to equip believers to be well-trained to make disciples. The information provided shows that disciple-making is a process and takes place life-on-life – and that is exactly how Jesus modeled the process for His followers.

Emily Anthony
The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert E. Coleman – I just finished this book last weekend and enjoyed every minute of it! Although it was originally published in 1963, it is just as applicable today as it was 50 years ago. In only 121 short pages, Dr. Coleman explores the pattern exemplified by Jesus as he shared the good news of His coming with the people around him. If you’d like to be encouraged and challenged to share the Gospel with those around you, then this book is for you.

How Then Shall We Live? – Francis Schaeffer – I’m reading this book as a required text for my philosophy class this summer, but it is definitely a classic. Schaeffer chronicles the fall of western culture from a Christ- centered perspective and upholds Christianity as the only hope for individuals as well as the world around us. Read this book if you’re interested in having a better understanding of how our cultural thinking has developed and how we can influence the lost around us.

Questioning Evangelism – Randy Newman – Have you ever wanted to be better at sharing Christ with others even if you’ve left your evangelistic tract at home? In Questioning Evangelism, Newman equips the reader to share their faith with those around then in regular conversation, using questioning to draw the conversation toward things of Christ.

Erin Gandy
Let Me Be a Woman – Elisabeth Elliot – Elliot wrote this book to her daughter, Valerie. It focuses on being a Christian woman in today’s world where being a woman is defined in so many other ways. Being a Christian woman changes the type of woman we are.

Crazy Busy – Kevin DeYoung – This book is for every woman who seems to have a million things on their calendars! Summer is a time to slow down. This book has encouraged me on so many different levels particularly pausing other aspects of life to focus on the greatest relationship in my life – my relationship with Jesus.

The Practice of Godliness – Jerry Bridges – This book is so very practical. Godliness is a combination of fear of God, love towards God and desire for Him. We can be capable Christians and serve in all the right capacities, but we are supposed to be godly Christians who are devoted to Him!

Lauren McCall
Mortification of Sin (abridged) – John Owen – Definitely more meditative than light, this was written by the well-known Puritan, John Owen. In the book, Owen reminds the believer of the pertinent issue of “killing sin, or it will be killing [us].” The book’s main focus is that of mortification and sanctification, the process by which a follower of Christ puts to death the old self and puts on the new self. The unabridged version is also available, however be prepared to persevere for the long haul.

When People are Big and God is Small –  by Ed Welch – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7) and according to Ed Welch is the only cure for the fear of man. This book demonstrates in many ways the result of living our lives based on the fear of man and how the cycle of sin in our lives is often driven by a lack of fear of the Lord. This book comes highly recommended and will definitely be a repeat read for me, possibly every year.

Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of the Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C.S. Lewis John Piper – As part of “the Swans are not silent series,” this is Piper’s latest tribute to the noted authors. This book highlights the beauty of how these three men were used for the glory of God in their speech and the importance of our words in how we bring praises to Him and preach His Gospel. There is so much to learn from these three men and in how they eloquently spoke Gospel throughout their lives.

Sara Jolley
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of The King – J.R.R.Tolkien – This is the third book in The Lord of The Rings series. The main character, Frodo, is nearing the end of his long journey when the battle of all battles breaks out between good and evil. Hopefully this epic fight is distracting enough to keep the king of all evil from the reason they’re fighting, the one and only ring and it’s imminent demise. One of my favorite parts about reading this series is looking for all of allegorical references to Christianity.

Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul – John and Stasi Eldredge – This book focuses on the woman during the fall, through her restoration, and inspires us to live in the present freedom granted to us by Christ. This book chips away at the walls we as women put around our hearts and invites us to embrace all our King has for us. I’m truly blown away with the truth God reveals to me though this book.

Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You Are Saved – J.D. Greear – “The idea of ‘asking Jesus into your heart’ or ‘giving your life to Jesus’ often gives false assurance to those who are not saved—and keeps those who genuinely are saved from fully embracing that reality.”* I thought this would be a great book to read, as I work with a lot of teenage girls who often question their salvation. Although I haven’t begun this book yet, I look forward to diving in and learning. *This quote is taken from the review on

Shirley Sells
The Rise of the Nones: Understanding and Reaching the Religiously Unaffiliated – James Emery White – Since the Nones are the fastest growing religious group (20% of our population) in America, I want to learn how to understand them and how I can effectively dialogue with them. This book will teach me what caused this seismic shift in our culture and how my church and association can strategically and effectively lead them to know God and his Son, Jesus.

No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington – Condoleezza Rice – Dr. Rice was born on November 14, 1954, in the segregated South (Birmingham, Alabama) during a period of racial tension of the Civil Rights movement. She overcame those obstacles to not only become one of my most admired brilliant women but one of the world’s most admired women. This book talks about the years she spent in Washington as the United States’ first black woman to serve as national security adviser appointed by George W. Bush and as the first black woman to serve as U.S. Secretary of State from 2005-2009. She is currently a professor of Political Economy in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Two Trashbags: Anecdotes of My Father – Jonathan Lane Yarboro – I chose this recently released book because I work with Jonathan and I have heard some of his stories growing up with his what his calls his, “flashy, Imposing, hairy, generous, prejudiced, dyslexic, uncouth, wealthy, bipolar, fun, addict” dad and the list goes on. In this book Jonathan recalls tales and adventures with his father in a fun and interesting way, but it’s also about hope and reconciliation.

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